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Switzerland Is 2014 World Cup Seed Ahead of Italy, England

Switzerland Is 2014 World Cup Seed Ahead of Italy, England
Members of Switzerland's World Cup team pose for a photo prior to a match between Switzerland and Slovenia at Stade de Suisse in Bern, Switzerland, on Oct. 15, 2013. Photographer: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Switzerland, which hasn’t made the last eight in the World Cup in almost 60 years, will be among the eight top seeds for next year’s tournament ahead of four-time winner Italy after a 14-match unbeaten run.

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team climbed seven places to world No. 7 in FIFA’s rankings after the run dating back to May 2012, the soccer ruling body said today in an e-mailed statement.

The top seven ranked teams and host Brazil will be the main seeds in the Dec. 6 draw under rules FIFA executives agreed on Oct. 4. The other confirmed seeds are Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia and Belgium. The seeds won’t be drawn together in the opening-group stage.

Uruguay will be the remaining seed if it defeats Jordan in a playoff. If not, the Netherlands will beat Italy to the spot by a fraction of a point, FIFA said. World No. 10 England will also miss out on a seeding spot.

Seeding for the 2010 World Cup was also based on FIFA rankings. For the 2006 edition, it was based on teams’ previous two tournament performances.

Switzerland reached the World Cup quarterfinals in 1954 as tournament host. The Swiss beat eventual champion Spain at the 2010 tournament but failed to advance past the opening group phase.

Hitzfeld, 64, will leave his coaching post after the World Cup, the Swiss soccer federation said on its website today.

The U.S. is ranked 13th, the same as during the last monthly poll.

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